Stories published in July, 2017

How can we expect a better Pakistan if our caste system is the reason why our sanitation workers die?

There may be no better parameter to judge the character, values and structure of a society than by the manner in which it performs some of the most humble and menial tasks. Sweeping, handling garbage or working on clogged gutters and sewage lines fall into the category of menial tasks. Who are the people who perform these tasks? What methods, implements and protective equipment are used to remove, handle and dispose the filth, trash, sludge and raw sewage? Are these processes well regulated and controlled? Are these jobs open to all or restricted to some? What is the social status, respect ...

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The daunting experience of dyeing my hair

To colour or not to colour? That is the question. I was at a standstill. I needed a change and fast. It’s a common phenomenon that every girl looking to ‘reinvent her look’, starts with her hair. It’s just such bittersweet transition and anyone who’s coloured before, knows exactly what I’m talking about. This account is of the first time I decided to colour and God what a mess that was! So basically this transition is a five step process. A process to achieving that goes as follows, “Woah! She looks good”, said her ex. “Ugh did you see her hair?” ...

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Was Nawaz Sharif dishonest by virtue of not declaring something he could not know he was supposed to declare?

On July 28th, a three member special bench of the Supreme Court announced their judgment. This judgment was followed by a final order of the five-member larger bench, in the infamous Panama Papers case. Nawaz Sharif, the recently ousted prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dishonest and was disqualified from being a member of the National Assembly under Article 62(1)f of the Constitution. The judgment was always politically controversial even before it was authored and announced. Unfortunately, it has also become a legal controversy at the centre of which lies the all mighty and all powerful Article 62(1)(f). The late General Ziaul Haq, in his attempted ...

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A ban on transgender individuals in the military has no ethical or logical justification, Donald Trump

Christopher T Beck was a US Navy SEAL for 20 years. Beck was part of the elite anti-terrorism unit known popularly as SEAL Team Six and was decorated with the Bronze Star (distinguished performance) and Purple Heart (for wounds suffered in combat).  After retiring in 2011, Beck began the transition that would allow his emotional maturation and identity consolidation he had long yearned for. Let me correct myself, that she had long yearned for. Today, Christopher is Kristin Beck, a trans woman that had to wait for her military career to be over before she could be who she wanted to be. She ...

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Dear Saif Ali Khan, an apology is not the same as a thousand-words essay on nepotism

If Saif Ali Khan’s ‘apology’ to Kangana Ranaut was not bad enough, the man has gone ahead and penned an open letter on nepotism now, and oh boy, what a treat it is! First, a bit of background – Karan Johar, Varun Dhawan and  Saif Ali Khan, the three privileged elites of that ‘big family’ called Bollywood who have made it bigger in the industry by virtue of having influential insiders for parents, took on a lone self-made woman who called out the ‘big daddy’ of nepotism in the film industry. Thankfully, their “nepotism rocks” joke managed to blow up in their faces because people on social media went berserk ...

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Wait for me… till then, the heart of Lahore will keep you safe

*Breaking news flashes* Nine people killed in Lahore. *Five minutes later* Fifteen people killed in Lahore. *Five minutes later* Twenty-two people killed in Lahore. *Five minutes later* Twenty-six people killed in Lahore. Twenty-six lives. 26 innocent lives. 26 families. 26 sets of dreams. 26 sets of memories. 26 sets of wishes. All gone, just gone. Washed away with a hose, left to dry and soaked by the heart of Lahore. Lahore, the city of bright colours, hungrily feeds on the blood of the dead, fearing the precious minutes to be over before this blood becomes food for the heartless. When the domino effect starts and these 26 set of dreams just become a mere number, ...

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How can 25 people collectively believe that raping a girl can constitute as punishment for the rape of another?

There is an unholy pestilence infesting the national soul and on July 18th in Multan, it manifested in all its hideous reality. The more one reads up on the incident which took place in Muzaffarabad in Multan, the more one descends into a moral sinkhole where nothing but the purest evil dwells. To punish the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl by a 16-year-old boy, the rapist’s 17-year-old sister was raped by the victim’s brother on the orders of a panchayat. As if that were not sufficiently vile, it has also been learnt that the mother of the rapist ‘offered’ her two older, married daughters to the ...

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After the letdowns that were ‘The Conjuring 2’ and ‘Annabelle’, will ‘Annabelle: Creation’ be any different?

When the first Conjuring movie came out in 2013, horror genre aficionados were ecstatic. Cutting through myriads of uninspiring horror flicks, The Conjuring was a breath of fresh air which brought forward original storylines and gut-wrenching horror scenes that kept you at the edge of your seat throughout its duration. However, the movies that have come after it simply repeat the story in a less powerful way. The computer-generated imageries (CGI) have become bland and there is no element of surprise left. Even The Conjuring 2 failed to impress and Annabelle (2014) was equally disappointing. Perhaps it is because of these misses and dupes that the franchise has decided ...

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Not all Indians are rapists just like not all Pakistanis are terrorists

As a Pakistani, I always thought of the Indian media as anti-Pakistani and excessively nationalistic. So when I recently got the opportunity to work with Indian journalists, I was not sure what to expect. I was on my way to London for the Chevening/South Asia Journalism Fellowship. The program brought 17 leading journalists from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives to live and work together in London for two months. Getting off the plane at Heathrow Airport, I wondered what it would be like to have a frank conversation with an Indian journalist. India is almost four times the size of Pakistan, yet their news media seem to be obsessed ...

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The Black Prince: In conversation with Kavi Raz on the real Lion of Punjab and the most powerful kingdom in the world

There is a great deal of talk about The Black Prince, a movie that was released worldwide on July 21, 2017. For this very reason, I just had to try and reach out to the man behind this effort and get some answers about the film and his life. Kavi Raz (KR) is a very interesting figure in Hollywood amongst the Punjabi diaspora. I am extremely glad that he responded to do this interview with me Ras Siddiqui (RS): The Black Prince is based on the little known life of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the youngest son of Maharajah Ranjit Singh. The world knows little about him or his life. What peaked ...

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